Despite the necessary facilities that are available at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Umuahia, Abia State, the centre cannot be upgraded to a teaching hospital as being canvassed by stakeholders, because it is not part of a university.
This was revealed yesterday during the oversight visit of the House of Representatives Committee on Health Institutions to the FMC. The visit also included a courtesy call on Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, where calls for upgrading were renewed.
The committee, led by its chairman, Dr. Paschal Chigozie Obi, supported the call for the upgrade based on what they saw on the ground during hours of inspection of facilities and interactions with management and staff members.
At Government House, Umuahia, during the courtesy call, the Deputy Governor, Ude Oko Chukwu, who represented Governor Ikpeazu, suggested the conversion of the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, the only federal university in the state, to a conventional university, while making the FMC it’s Medical College.
The Medical Director, Dr. Azubike Onyebuchi, told The Guardian that the centre could not be upgraded to a teaching hospital without being part of a university.
A member of the visiting committee, representing Bende Constituency (Abia State), Benjamin Kalu, also suggested to the Federal Government to establish a University of Medical Sciences in the South-East zone, while urging the FMC to update and digitize its Medical Library.
In commending the FMC for attaining the status of a centre of excellence with the outstanding achievements of its medical director in less than two years in office, the House committee chairman disclosed that their report and recommendations would be based on their findings.
Speaking during the committee members’ interaction with the hospital workers, the medical director confirmed that the centre is the only one in the South-South and South-East zones that performs renal transplants at the most affordable cost. He added that eight renal transplants had been successfully performed while two new cases will follow soon.
Dr. Onyebuchi also said that the centre is the only one in the region that has established a world-class Diagnostic Centre under a Public-Private Partnership with the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).
According to him, FMC Umuahia has also established an In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) facility that has helped childless couples to have babies.
The workers in their remarks commended the Medical Director for his achievements and described their hospital as one where industrial peace reigns.
“There is prevailing peace and harmony despite that some workers entitlements and allowances were yet to be paid, even as we are challenged by insecurity, manpower shortages and other operational logistics.
“We, therefore, hope that the visit of this committee will address these matters and motivate us more,” the workers said.